"Please don't hurt me!"
"Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it."

--Mark Twain

Earlier reports that the the attacker who sawed open a passenger's chest in the New York subway was carrying a teddy bear seem to have been inaccurate; according to authorities, Mr. Williams was actually carrying this:

Subway monkey.JPG

From the NY Daily News, here's the latest:

Cops arrested accused madman Tareyton Williams at 5:40 a.m. after he allegedly slugged Oliver Vaquer, 29, who was walking his dog with his pregnant wife on W. 86th St. near West End Ave.

"He was big, all muscles, and he had a crazy blank look in his eyes, but I just thought he was going to ask for money," said Vaquer, a commercial voice-over artist.

"The next thing I knew he punched me as hard as he could, and I fell on a newspaper box."

As Vaquer's wife screamed for help, he said, Williams hit him in the face again and on the arm, then walked away.

"It was the craziest thing," Vaquer said. "Not a word from him, nothing. He was either on drugs or didn't take the ones he should have, but we realize now how much worse it could have been."

The suspect, a 33-year-old convicted drug dealer, was cradling a stuffed toy gorilla shortly after 3 a.m. when he entered the 110th St. station in Morningside Heights, witnesses said.

Construction workers from Five Star Electric Corp. were replacing a sound system when Williams allegedly strolled onto the southbound No. 1 train platform, where he dropped the 2-foot-tall toy.

After urinating into an empty bottle and tossing it into a garbage can, Williams suddenly ran toward the workers, witnesses said.

"He picked up our tools and started chasing us. He just had a dumb look on his face. He seemed deranged," said one worker. "He didn't say a word. Nobody knew how to react. Everyone ran in the opposite direction." (Emphasis added.)

I hate to quibble, but the toy in the picture looks more like a chimpanzee. Whatever.

But is the identity of the toy really of vital importance to understanding the dynamics? It's just another distraction. What isn't funny is this society's paralyzing inability to deal with the criminally deranged. Society will not protect us -- which means that we as individuals have to take care of ourselves.

What I find totally unacceptable is that the same society that refuses to protect us against hallucinatory scum increasingly will not allow us to protect ourselves. People are taught to be passive, and they are told that "doing their job" consists of complying with the demands of the insane and the dangerous. I think the mindset starts in the elementary schools, where teachers are forced to passively watch aggressive children engage in destructive, disruptive behavior.

Employees -- whether in stores, banks, or the New York subway system -- are made to cooperate, no matter what.

Fortunately, the 9/11 hijackings awakened people to what can happen when this compliance attitude is carried too far. I'd be willing to bet that had this same psycho acted this way on an airplane, people would have seen the wisdom of jumping him.

Not that anybody wants to jump a psychotic muscle man who's on drugs or hasn't taken his medication. Who can blame them? You might get hurt, and besides, what if no one helped you? Who wants to be a dead hero? Who wants to get sued?

The answer is of course to carry something that will tend to level the playing field, to equalize. Guns immediately come to mind:

The Equalizer

Be not afraid of any man,
No matter what his size.
When danger threatens, call on me
And I will equalize.

Nice Victorian poem. Except today, guns are illegal in New York. Only criminals and police have them (and criminals can easily spot cops ahead of time). Law abiding citizens are disarmed.

This leaves what? A stun gun? Wrong! Possession of stun guns is also illegal in New York.

Even pepper spray is strictly controlled. It's considered a deadly weapon, and may be sold only by authorized dealers:

(b) Before delivering a self-defense spray device to any person, the licensed or authorized dealer shall require proof of age and a sworn statement on a form approved by the superintendent of state police that such person has not been convicted of a felony or any crime involving an assault. Such forms shall be forwarded to the division of state police at such intervals as directed by the superintendent of state police. Absent any such direction the forms shall be maintained on the premises of the vendor and shall be open at all reasonable hours for inspection by any peace officer or police officer, acting pursuant to his or her special duties. No more than two self-defense spray devices may be sold at any one time to a single purchaser.
Of course, it's illegal to buy pepper spray online, or transport it to New York from another state. Not only that, the New York variety is the weaker 2% solution, which might not work against everyone.

I haven't researched the law regarding blackjacks, brass knuckles, and other weapons which might tend to even the score, but I'm pretty sure they'd be illegal.

That's because New York is a civilized place where people in authority (like the MTA employees) will sit there and watch while your chest is sawed open.

Oh, I almost forgot. They were "traumatized" by watching.

(While it's none of my business, you'd think this stuff would eventually be bad for tourism.)

posted by Eric on 07.07.06 at 07:39 AM


I am reminded of a scene in S. M. Stirling's Dies the Fire. In it our hero faces an Eater, a cannibal. This Eater a woman dressed in the remains of a business suit who screams at him as she attacks, "You didn't come for us!"

Stirling later observes that when The Change came most people simply sat where they were marooned, and when it became obvious nobody was coming to their aid simply gave up.

Alan Kellogg   ·  July 7, 2006 10:58 PM

i know tareyton william and thats not like him at all! he was a good father a hard working man and last i saw him was february before leaving ny! its crazy! something must have realllllly went wrong

mimi   ·  July 13, 2006 1:00 PM

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